I am in the process of weaning my toddler from breastfeeding. At the moment he still drinks milk (breastfeeds) at night. Once he stops breastfeeding completely, what should I do if he wakes up and seems hungry at night? Is it OK to offer milk, juice, or cereal?

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    "At night" as in "during the night" or as in "before bedtime"? And welcome to the site! – Stephie Sep 24 '15 at 19:53
  • And how old is your child? – Stephie Sep 24 '15 at 20:01
  • Nancy, welcome to Parenting.SE. We will need a bit more information about your child's age and the timing of the additional foods to give you a good, clear answer. Also, what information are you looking for when you say "good" -- healthy, important, good habits? Can you please edit to clarify? – Acire Sep 25 '15 at 11:53
  • we used to mix a tiny bit of rice cereal at the last bottle-feeding of the night for our daughters to have extra sustenance to sleep the night. Part of sleeping through the night is metabolism. I'm surprised that there aren't "sleep-the-night" formulations for baby-formula. It is about having a little body-mass and a little nutrition - then it is about training habits. Best of luck. – EngrStudent Oct 3 '15 at 17:56

It's certainly OK to offer food or drinks at night, but teeth need to be brushed afterward.

You might decide to wean your child off eating at night in order to get uninterrupted sleep for baby and uninterrupted sleep for you too! According to Ferber and my personal experience, in weaning off night feeds, when done gradually, your toddler will get used to not having a meal at that time. Eventually the hunger will shift to other times of day.

I weaned off breastfeeding at night, and replaced it with formula or whole milk for the first couple weeks when my toddler was waking for her middle of the night feed; I would reduce the amount in the bottle each night. I found that to be easier than cutting down on nursing time (putting her back in bed after 5 minutes of nursing made her really mad and awake). But if the bottle only had a small amount in it, that was easier for her to accept.

Maybe that technique will work for you too. At 18 months, we only give her water at night; she wakes maybe once night per week asking for water.

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A snack before bed, brush teeth, then off to bed. If they wake at night offer a bottle of water. With one of my children the night waking was so constant that I finally placed a bottle of water in her crib at night, she would wake, find it and drink a bit, then dose off again. When she moved into a bed the bottle was replace with a sippy cup of water.

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